Yesterday’s news was quite harsh for Lions fans. The team’s spiritual backbone, and a template for all that is right and good for the current Lions, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, and it’s most gifted ballhawk, CB Alphonso Smith, were both placed upon injured reserve.
That, along with the news that Matthew Stafford has resumed light throwing, but has a long ways to go before becoming remotely game ready, all amounts to dashing whatever remaining meager hope Lions fans were clinging to about the Lions 2010 season. It only gets worse from here.
Vanden Bosch was a truly spectacular off-season addition. The combination of the tirelessly, relentless “KVB”, pocket-exploding Corey Williams, the precociously aggressive Ndamukong Suh, and the luminescently emergent Cliff Avril, all have made the 2-10 Lions a much better team to watch, in lieu of their awful record.
The Lions defense still has a long ways to go. Vanden Bosch has an extremely checkered injury history and is not getting any younger. The presence of DE’s Lawrence Jackson and Turk McBride, each capable players who have performed well in spot duty, may render Vanden Bosch and his large contract expendable in 2011.
2011 will be Vanden Bosch’s 10th season in the league. He has now participated in two injury-shortened seasons, in the last four of his career.
Earlier in the season, a tearful Gunther Cunningham was awestruck by Vanden Bosch’s effort, I wonder how many tears were shed as a result of yesterday’s bad news? The Lions will go on, injuries occur all of the time. That being said, the hopeful optimism of a positive outcome to the 2010 season is rapidly eroding for the 2-10 Lions.
Aside from his systematic dismantling by the Patriots on Thanksgiving, Alphonso Smith brought some much-needed playmaking and ballhawking ability to a poor Lions defense. After the Pats game, Smith fell out of favor a bit with the Lions fan base, but how will they feel while Nathan Vasher and Brandon McDonald are called to play against a dynamic Packers passing attack this Sunday?
Ultimately, the Lions 2010 season’s (and what limited potential for success it may have had) outcome was riding on the apparently weakened shoulders of projected franchise QB, Matthew Stafford.
The injury Stafford sustained during Week One, and the subsequent Week Nine injury sustained against the Jets, likely predetermined the Lions fate in 2010.
As much as there were signs of improvement and some emerging glimmers of hope, the team is still mired in a 26-game road losing streak, a 19-game losing streak against divisional foes, and are 5-47 in their last 52 games.
Jim Schwartz’s coaching tenure is off to an inauspicious 4-24 start. The Lions are the worst team in professional sports history. If valuable players continue to go down to injury, the Lions will lose any traction that they may have gained as a franchise this season, moving forward.